TAM B777-300ER Economy (long-haul)

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  • Anonymous


    Flight was LHR – GRU and connecting in Sao Paulo for TAM domestic flight to Belo Horizonte (CNF).

    Aircraft – the craft was clean although I think beginning to show a little wear and tear around the edges now. This is perhaps more noticeable because I flew their new B767 they have on the Rio – London route on my return.

    Boarding – as I have found in the past with TAM, they start boarding early and in fact as soon as they open the gate. This does seems to mean that you don’t have long boarding queues and I practically walked straight onto the plane. They do according to the boarding pass, board economy in groups after premium classes and those needing assistance but I have never experienced them doing so at LHR but with such a long boarding period of an hour there is no chaos of mass crowds.

    Seat – unfortunately TAM’s B777-300ER that they use on the Sao Paulo – London route is the dreaded 10 abreast (3-4-3) in economy. Economy is in effect 3 cabins, a small one immediately behind business class which as you can pre-reserve seats always fulls up first. The other two are much larger and I was sat in one of these in an aisle seat, 31D.

    The leg room is a fairly standard 32″ but as Brazilians do have a tendency to put their seat backs as soon as they can there is a good chance that you will have a seat in your face for the whole flight. The seats aren’t particularly well padded and due to the 10 abreast I kept getting knocked by people walking down the aisle as they passed as the aisle is so narrow. This all meant if I got an hour of sleep on this overnight flight I would be surprised.

    Crew & Service – TAMs crews on long haul normally seems to be older than on the short haul routes and with that I feel you get a pleasant and professional service although it is not overwhelmingly friendly. If you don’t speak Portuguese they generally do all speak some English although don’t expect fluency. As I have a very peely wally celtic complexion the crew can tell I am not Brazilian and normally do speak in English to me straight off. As I speak Portuguese I always reply in Portuguese and on this particular flight one of the crew was quite surprised at my knowledge of their language and we had a charming conversation as a result.

    The one thing that does annoy me about the crew though is that when they do the coffee run after the meal service they fly through the cabin at break neck speed and you have to stop them if you want a tea or coffee, it is a bit like they are doing duty free and I just find it weird. TAM also do a hot towel service and hand out toffee sweets at the start of the flight which is very quaint, reminds me of my childhood.

    Catering – the quality of the food on board for their evening meal service economy is not too bad, a choice of beef and rice or chicken and pasta which seems to be the same on every long-haul TAM flight I have taken. It is predictable but certainly on the good side of edible. Drinks wise, alcohol choices are fairly limited if you prefer spirits it is basically a blended whisky and that is it. The wines are served from the bottle but they only do one alcohol drinks run with the food and the a second run of coffee and soft drinks before ‘sending the cabin to sleep’. After that you can get drinks from the galleys, on this flight the crew member in the galley closest to me was less that forthcoming with giving more wine so I ended going to the further away galley where they were a lot more helpful.

    Unlike dinner however breakfast on this flight was terrible which consisted of a hot cheese and ham wrap thing that really wasn’t particularly nice but after 9 hours of not eating I was really quite hungry so did so even though I far from enjoyed it.

    Entertainment – I noticed that on this flight that whilst TAM had a larger number of films available for viewing than when I last flew them at the beginning of the year there was definitely less current films and I was quite disappointed by this. A lot of the new releases were far from new. Doing a google search I found that they have changed their AVOD provider to IFE but I would say a greater breadth of films hasn’t not improved it all however it is better than most airlines flying over the atlantic.

    Arrival – the flight arrived slightly ahead of schedule at Garulhos airport which was just as well as there were long queues at immigration (30 mins) with all the European flights arriving with a couple of hours are busy and then I had a further wait for my luggage (20 mins) before another longer wait at the TAM domestic connection desks (nearly 40 mins). As my connection was a bit less than 2 hours I just made the flight to CNF.

    Overall – TAM’s long haul product is fairly good and in terms of service normally excepting the grumpy cabin crew member manning the galley closest to me friendly and professional. Their hard product on the B777 is uncomfortable and if you do a comparison with BA who fly the same route I prefer their economy hard product on the Sao Paulo route as whilst it is one inch less leg room you have greater seat width and aren’t knocked every 5 mins by someone passing.

    However if flying TAM I try and avoid GRU preferring to fly on TAM into/out of GIG as their Rio flights are on A330 and now the new B767 which have are less cramped. As a result I prefer those flights for omfort over BA’s B747 and B777. However I would say BA service is always better and of course their choice of spirits much better! The other thing is of course be aware of connection times in GRU although I know I would have got on the next flight to CNF had I missed my scheduled one.


    TAM is an airline I avoid,
    I flew several times between CDG & GIG/GRU, GIG & Buenos Aires.
    The planes are old, when second hand, just roughly repainted, not refurbished inside.
    Back to CDG, a 330 had to be replaced by an old MD11 bearing TAM red colors outside; inside, it was the Varig Blue in C class (at least 18years old).
    The service TAM offers is below the average, far from the blah blah shown in the ads, without common sense compared to the money they charge.
    Once, flying to GIG from CDG in F, I had to ask the stew to cool down some friends flying free of charge, and enjoying the full service, behaving without any basic education. (I just mean that spending more than 11 hours in a tin can requires a basic care of the others)
    The first time I flew with TAM, it was in C from Paris. The plane, once seats ‘flat’ was looking like a dormitory. No Thanks!

    Ah! VARIG! These were times ! that was an airline bearing high the colors of Brazil.

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